Agenda item

Housing Delivery Update

Minutes:

The Head of Housing Delivery introduced themselves and also the Strategy & Enabling Manager for Housing Delivery.  It was said that both officers had recently joined the now enlarged Housing Delivery Team in order to address issues with the delivery of affordable housing. 

 

The Strategy & Enabling Manager for Housing Delivery took Members through the published presentation slides which provided an overview of forecasts of affordable housing delivery over the next 3 years and the actions being taken to meet future housing targets. 

It was stated that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on housing delivery in general and there was now a 6 month lag on previous targets.  Further details about the reasons for this were included in the presentation slides.

 

There is currently what was described as a ‘hot housing market’ because of measures such as the temporarily reduced stamp duty rates.  However, when measures such as the furlough scheme come to an end and there were risks of more redundancies that could cause the housing market slowing down.  That would likely have a negative effect on the number of affordable Houses being built and shared ownership schemes available.

 

Officers explained what action was being taken in order to meet future house targets, such as securing as much Section 106 (S106) funding as possible, unblocking any blockages, utilising grant funding and enabling land release where possible.  The Council had also recently released 2 sites to Gorum Homes and were working with them to see how they could support and accelerate delivery on those sites. 

 

The following points were discussed:

Members thanked officers for the information and said it was impressive that was such a lot going on.  However, was there a case of optimism bias in the report because the figures were forecasts and the actual number of houses built could still be very different?  Officers said yes the figures were forecasts but were based on the most up-to-date intelligence that was available.  They were about to produce a Quarter 2 data return which would show how on track things were and as time goes on it will be possible to be more confident about the figures.

 

It was asked if Officers had some information on previous forecasts and actual delivery so it could be seen if there had been optimism bias in previous years forecasting. Officers did then provide Members with some historical information to determine if this had been the case.  It was said that the data reflected 2 main points; one was the cyclical nature of affordable housing (AH) delivery and also the impact of the economy on the housing development process.  It was said that affordable housing was much more easily delivered in volume when there is significant grant funding available.  

 

The point about optimism bias in the data was reiterated by another Member who said he had little confidence that original targets would have been reached and that he nervous that he was being told everything is in-hand when actually in his view it was not. 

 

The Chair asked if officers had the information on all previous housing delivery forecasts as well as AH delivery.  Officers said they didn’t have that information with them but would provide it to Members after the Meeting.

 

ACTION: Officers agreed to provide further information about all housing delivery data compared with previously forecast figures for the same period after the meeting.

 

Officers were asked what percentage of the AH homes would be built on brown-field sites? The Head of Housing Delivery said they didn’t have that information to hand but they could provide it after the meeting.

 

ACTION: Officers to provide the figures on the percentage of AH that will be built on brown-field sites.

 

The Chair asked about Gorum Homes and commented that the 2 projects looked promising. Officers agreed and said that they were working hard with Gorum Homes at moment because it was a good delivery route.  It was asked if there would be more sites in future. Officers said yes they were currently de-risking one site and there would be a number of other sites in future.  

 

The Members thanked Officers for their time and the information provided. 

 

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